Suzanne Berger: Smoking in My Mother’s Garden

I light another cigarette. 
Her clematis climbs up a jagged garden wall,
clinging at top with sharp flutings.

Again she ‘s shaking inside on her bed.
Again, compliant, waiting for
any form of comfort
that comes on spongy shoes down the hall,
or the daughter who will come– soon–
into her wallpapered pain-papered room.
My mother like a most-lost child, in every way, undone.

How has the unfurling begun again
and later, the perilous un-becoming?
How long can I put off going in?

Inside the house, the voltage of distrust,
sparks  of breaking apart. 
Woman adrift again, far off, very far,
like a bird that leaves the hierarchy of migration
and has to fly alone.

I grind my cigarette out, scattering ash,
punishing the outdoor beauty;
embers burn in soft wet leaves, burning the clematis petals
strewn on mossy pavement.